Sex and all.

I do not want to talk about the election, the candidates, or anything like that. It’s been discussed much more gracefully by my fellow bloggers than I could possibly do right now.

I want to talk about sex.

I work with a young women’s mentoring organization, and one of our chief jobs is to provide young teenagers in Chicago with the information they need to know about safer sex. From a survey we did, we discovered that many of the girls are already sexually active at ages thirteen and fourteen, sometimes even younger. These same girls believe that birth control pills prevent HIV. This is just not acceptable.

One key issue that I think needs to be brought up–post-election!–is the state of sex education in Illinois. According to a report by CNN, most Americans do not favor abstinence-only education. Not even most conservatives.

As some may know, Chicago Public Schools will now be teaching comprehensive sex ed, thanks mostly to youth organizations. But in the rest of Illinois it’s still the same old stuff. No matter who wins the election (even though I’ve got my fingers crossed for the Dems) this issue needs to be resolved. A great resource is Illinois Campaign for Responsible Sex Ed. I’m not an Illinois resident yet, so the best I can do is urge all you out there who are to take some action. And that’s my two cents.

8 Comments so far

  1. Bill V (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

    Abstinence sounds like a great idea for anyone. Solves all of the problems associated with HIV and pregnancy. I guess a question to ask is what age is appropriate for sex?, being that you don’t think one should wait until marriage (who thinks like that anymore). I can’t explain why some would think the pill would prevent STDs and HIV. Seems like it is something that needs to be talked about at home and at some point in school (I’d be against it in the 6th grade). Thanks for bringing up sex! Down with politics!

  2. Marty (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 11:26 pm

    You can talk about sex and sex education at any age. Want to keep you kid safe from the average pedophile? Talk to them about their bodies in preschool.

  3. Bill V (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 9:55 am

    I’ll agree that you can bring up certain aspects of sex with kids of any age. But actually talking about the act at “any age”, I’d be against that.

  4. erinoia (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 10:20 am

    I think the problem is that even when kids that *are* at a more common age start having sex, they still do not know very much about their own bodies or their partners’.

    Human anatomy should be taught at an early age, and I totally agree with Marty’s point.
    The moral issues about sex should not be left up to the school systems to decide. By only teaching the failure rates of condoms, is that really going to help kids make healthy choices? If someone told me dieting doesn’t *really* help prevent heart disease, well, then, I’d be eating a polish every day and leave an obese corpse at age 55.

    Anyway, my point is this: kids are not stupid and also not devoid of morals. They will make up their own minds about sex, and when they do so should have the information they need. When I was in high school, we didn’t even have a law forcing abstinence-only ed, and I still didn’t feel too educated about how to protect myself. It is not cynical to think that sex is going to happen and we might as well teach kids anyway. It’s smart.
    As a future parent, I would be relieved to know that my children were receiving comprehensive information. It would make talking to them about the subjective side of sex–the moral issues–easier because the kid already had basic facts, and instead of wasting time awkwardly explaining the vulva we could have an actual *conversation* about the not-so-factual stuff.

    Anyway, I hate to get preachy. But also hate that sexually active girls ask me what condoms are, what sex is, how pregnancy happens.

    On the plus side: go Dems.

  5. JoJo (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 1:36 pm

    In my opinion, this should be an issue handled by parents. Let schools teach kids about math, science and reading. Especially when schools and the courts become as arrogant as they have recently ( Take this case for instance – the 9th circus court of appeals said “There is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children…Parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students.”

    That is not cool. When students are old enough to be taught about sex, if it’s going to happen at school, it should be more of an education on the dangers of sex (pregnancy, STD’s, AID’s, etc) and less handing out condoms and teaching third graders how to put condoms on cucumbers.

  6. erik (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

    I’m probably missing something, but wasn’t sex ed taught in schools initially because parents didn’t teach it to kids themselves?

  7. erinoia (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 4:21 pm

    In response to Jojo:

    Schools have never just stuck to “math, science and reading”. If schools can teach what the government’s thoughts are on citizenship and enforce pledging allegiance to a flag, they are teaching about an issue that’s not strictly factual, and often borders on more sensitive moral and ethical boundaries.

    Furthermore, despite what the court of appeals said, parents do have a choice to waive their child’s participation in sex education classes. The bit about parents not having the sole right to their children’s sex ed is true if you think about it: if you let your kid watch TV, go to public school, read magazines, use the internet, look at billboards, etc., then you would be a fool to think that you are *really* the sole provider of their sex education. They’re getting bombarded by sex but don’t understand what sex is–fault of the parents (yes, Erik) and the schools.

    I don’t advocate teaching 3rd graders how to put on condoms–but shouldn’t they understand their bodies and what parts are personal, private, and THEIRS? On the other hand, I do NOT advocate ONLY telling kids the diseases that they are certain to contract if they have sex–even protected sex. It’s just not true. If you read my link to the CNN story, also, it notes that areas with comprehensive sex-ed programs have a higher median age for teens becoming sexually active. It’s cheesy, but knowledge is power.

  8. JoJo (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 8:36 am

    IMO, there isn’t much comparison b/n citizenship, the pledge of allegiance and sex ed. First off, citizenship relates to laws, which should not be subjective. Nothing wrong with teaching students about the law of the land. Secondly, no one is forced to say the pledge of allegiance, it is optional.

    Yes, I understand that there are many ways that young kids can be exposed to sex through media, etc. I think that is a problem too. But there is a difference b/n a kid seeing a billboard or tv show where people are talking about sex and having 1st, 3rd and 5th graders rate the following items from “Never” to “Almost all the time” based on how often they are distracted by these thoughts:

    “Touching my private parts too much”
    “Washing myself because I feel dirty on the inside”
    “Can’t stop thinking about sex”
    “Having sex feelings in my body”

    Remember, this was directed at 1st, 3rd and 5th graders. Anyone who thinks it’s necessary for 1st grade students to be thinking about the above statements is a really creepy person. Really creepy.

    Yes, I agree that youngsters should know which parts of their bodies are private, but I’m confused where the government comes in to the picture.

    I can’t see how a rational person would think that courts have the right to tell parents what their kids will be exposed to when they are in a public school. That is simply not the role of the courts.

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